Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola’s husband perishes in a plane disaster.

Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola's husband perishes in a plane disaster.

Alaska Rep. Mary Peltola’s husband perishes in a plane disaster.

The office of Representative Mary Peltola (D-Alaska) confirmed on Wednesday that Eugene Peltola Jr. sadly perished in a plane crash on Tuesday in Western Alaska.

“We are devastated to share that Mary’s husband, Eugene Peltola Jr., fondly known as “Buzzy” to all who knew and cherished him, passed away this morning following a plane accident in Alaska,” said Sam Erickson, the congresswoman’s communication director, in a statement. He was a person who was excellent at all he did and had a great sense of humor that made even the most trying times enjoyable.

Around 8:45 p.m. local time, a single-engine Piper PA-18 crashed close to the settlement of St. Mary’s in western Alaska, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Only the pilot was in the aircraft, according to the FAA.

A thorough investigation into the collision will be carried out by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FAA.

According to her staff, Representative Peltola swiftly left Washington on Tuesday and arrived back in Alaska on Wednesday.

Together, Eugene and Mary Peltola brought up seven kids and settled in Bethel, Alaska. Eugene served as the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Alaska Region and was a member of the Orutsararmiut Native Council.

As soon as he learned about Peltola Jr.’s passing, House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) voiced his deep sorrow, saying, “The entire House Democratic Caucus mourns the loss of Buzzy, and we are offering our support and prayers to Mary and the Peltola family during this incredibly difficult time.”

Small planes and helicopters are regularly employed for transport within Alaska due to its extensive geography. Notably, notable Alaskan politician and former senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) perished in a plane crash in 2010 after leaving office.

Mary Peltola made history as the first woman in the state’s House of Representatives, the first Alaska Native (Yup’ik), and the first Democrat to hold the seat in fifty years when she secured election to Alaska’s sole House seat in 2022.